Many people would agree that prolonged exposure to a bad work environment can hinder your work performance and damage your long term mental health. Of course, the types of stressors a worker may face will depend on the type of job he has and the field he works in. Some jobs—such as deep sea fishing and logging—are inherently dangerous, but the typical worker is most often stressed out by the people he works with. In this article, we will discuss a four key steps an employer can take to promote a stress free working environment and boost productivity.
Establish an Employee Assistance Program
An employee assistance program is designed to help workers if they have a personal issue that is negatively impacting their work performance. Common issues that may be addressed include alcohol addiction, drug addiction, child care, elder care, or relationship challenges. These services come at no cost to workers. They are often delivered face-to-face or via telephone, online chat, video counseling, or email.
Provide Mental Health Training
Mental health issues are real and it can be a challenge for workers to cope with them. One of the main reasons coping is often difficult is that workers may not even be aware that they are experiencing mental or emotional distress. Mental health training can help employees to recognize potential stressors early so that they can avoid them or make the necessary preparations to deal with them in a healthy manner. Companies may also offer allyship training which helps employees to view situations from new perspectives, become more open to feedback, and evolve their thinking.
Encourage Better Communication
Better communication leads to better working relationships. One of the key components of good communication is effective listening. When workers are encouraged to listen to each other, misunderstandings and mistakes are less likely to occur. This leads to less stress and less interpersonal conflicts.
Employees should also be encouraged to share their thoughts, beliefs, and ideas freely without fear of judgment. Good ideas and commendation may benefit the company financially and help to boost morale in the workplace. When workers are allowed to share their concerns, it gives the company the opportunity to address minor issues early. This minimizes the likelihood of major problems developing over time.
When good communication is fostered in the workplace, employees are more likely to treat each other with trust and compassion. This promotes a spirit of cooperation within the company rather than a spirit of selfish competition.
Promote a Healthy Lifestyle
People who are physically healthy tend to have lower stress levels and better mental health. If you are a business owner, there are a lot of ways you can influence your employees to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Some of these ways include:
- Arranging walking meetings
- Special bonuses for workers with no sick days
- Arranging lectures about personal health care habits
- Encouraging employees to maintain work-life balance
- Teaching them about the importance of emotional fitness
- Organizing workshops to educate them about mental health and its importance
- Revising ongoing policies and practices
If you are concerned about the mental health of your employees and want to address it, you need to be willing to make and stick with the necessary changes. This may involve adjusting core policies within the company and spending money to get the personnel and equipment you need. Most people do not like change because they have become accustomed to doing things in a particular way. However, these adjustments and upgrades to reduce stress and improve mental health will benefit both your employees and your company in the long run.